Every parent worries. Is the laundry detergent up high enough that the toddler can’t get into it? Are all the doors and windows locked so she can’t escape? She’s old enough to ride in the front seat, right? As parents, we are constantly double-checking for hazards and dangers our children can get into. This doesn’t end the second they turn 18. Are they driving safely, did they remember to eat a vegetable today, did I send enough shower stuff with them to college? A parent’s job is never done. But what happens when you find a bag of white powder in your teen’s bedroom? Do you know what it is?
In Florida, 7.87% of teens reported using illicit substances in 2020. When substance use starts at a younger age, it is more likely to develop into a substance use disorder. Clean Recovery Centers is working to help parents address substance use and open the door to conversation. Addiction does not discriminate against age, and even if your child is 30 and managing a heroin use disorder, help is available. Today we are looking at heroin identification and how to distinguish it from other substances.
Identifying Heroin from Other Types of Opioids
Substance identification with the naked eye is becoming more difficult with the array of substances available on the street. Most substances come in a white powder form – from cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine – distinguishing the difference between these substances is almost impossible. Even contaminants in heroin, such as flour, talc, or acetaminophen, are also being added to cocaine and other substances. There are a couple of ways to help in identifying unknown white powders.
Heroin is considered a synthetic opioid, meaning it has been chemically altered or treated in order to be made. This means that when heroin is mixed with certain outside chemicals, a reaction will occur. One of the most common types of tests is the Marquis test. Kits are available that have different options to test substances for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and other opioids. They are available online and can give you peace of mind in knowing what substance you actually have.
Fentanyl test strips have made an emergence in recent years. Although they are currently illegal in Florida, lawmakers are working to make them legal and readily available. These strips can tell if fentanyl is present in your heroin or any other substance.
The Different Colors of Heroin
The common colors associated with heroin are brown, white, and black. In powder form, heroin is typically white, off-white, or brownish ranging from tan to chocolate brown. When heroin is black, it is in the form of a sticky substance that can be moist to the touch. This is known as black tar heroin. Powder forms of heroin are typically snorted or dissolved in liquid for injection, while black tar is typically smoked or injected.
Different Packaging of Heroin
Heroin can be packed in different ways for transport. Heroin is smuggled into Florida mainly through Miami and Orlando, coming from areas in South America. The substance can be stored in cut latex gloves or condoms and is swallowed to avoid detection. Heroin is also trafficked in hidden storage compartments in suitcases, mixed among legal goods, or stored in boxes or containers labeled as something else. Air travel is the most common method of transport among smugglers.
When distributed on the streets for consumption, heroin is typically wrapped in very small packages. These packages can be made from plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or cut balloons. Dealers will sometimes stamp these packages with their homemade logo, letting the users know where to go when they need more. In some cases, black tar heroin is sealed in plastic resembling a laundry detergent pod. The amount per package is usually small, similar in size to a dime. The packaging is chosen to protect the product from the elements and to ease concealing.
Slang Terms of Heroin and Other Names
Common slang terms or street names for heroin include:
- Big H
- China White
- White horse
- Black tar
- Black Dragon
These names can mean not only heroin, but also help identify what the substance is mixed with. For example, China White typically refers to heroin that has been mixed with fentanyl
Why Identification of Heroin Matters
Identifying heroin is crucial for safety and also to help loved ones. For those using heroin, it is possible to get a different substance from a dealer and not know. Dealers have no one regulating what they do, what they sell, or how much they sell. Even if you have known the person for a long time, they are still human. It is possible to get cocaine or something else instead of heroin. This can cause severe adverse effects and even an overdose.
For parents or family members of loved ones who are using, being able to identify what substance is being used can help open the conversation about possible next steps. Finding an unknown white powder is no parent’s dream. By knowing that it is heroin, parents can arm themselves with knowledge and present the dangers of use to their teens. Communication is the first line of defense when facing a loved one with a potential heroin use disorder.
Lastly, it is important to be able to identify heroin in the event of an overdose. Opioid overdose has common symptoms such as choking or gurgling sounds and losing consciousness. Being able to tell medical personnel that heroin was us
Getting Treatment for Heroin Addiction
Clean Recovery Centers has a three-phase program for rehab for heroin addiction. Our staff of professionals treats heroin withdrawal through our safe and trusted detox, followed by inpatient or outpatient programs to continue to build on the path to recovery.
The first phase of treatment is called preparation. This includes a 24-hour detoxification period monitored around the clock medically and with emotional support. Detox from heroin can be dangerous as withdrawal symptoms can become fatal. We offer medication-assisted treatment during this time to ensure the safety and well-being of the individual.
Residential / Inpatient Rehab Services
There are two stages to our residential treatment program.
Residential One – This is part of phase one of the treatment program. Individuals are in a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week, live-in environment. Medical support is available if needed, but the main focus is on individual, group, and family therapy. The length of stay in this treatment phase is 3-4 weeks.
Residential Two – This is where the transition to phase two happens. Phase two is the action phase, where individuals confront where the addiction started and prepare themselves for independent recovery. At Clean Recovery Centers, this step is referred to as Day/Night Treatment, or DNT. While most clients choose to live in community housing on-site for this phase, it is not required. The program is a minimum of 30 hours of services per week. The four main focuses of DNT include experiential processes, defense mechanism identification, belief system exploration, and symbolic integration. All of these components are to help transition core beliefs and develop balance to a clean life. This phase of treatment typically lasts 2-3 weeks.
Mental Health Path – For those who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition during phase one, the treatment path can change to accommodate those needs first. Clients go into a residential II setting after detox and receive specific treatment for their diagnosis as well as education and medication management
Outpatient Rehab Services
Phase Three of the treatment process is the maintenance stage. At Clean Recovery Centers, we have two versions of outpatient services, intensive outpatient and outpatient. For intensive outpatient, or IOP, the client can choose to reside in a 24/7 monitored transitional living on-site or at home. The program is 9 hours per week minimum and continues with individual counseling. Outpatient is for those living at home or in sober living off-site and is 2 hours per week. Both services build on the skills learned in inpatient treatment and therapies to continue on the path to living heroin-free. The length of stay for phase three is around 6-8 weeks.
If you or someone you love is living with a heroin use disorder, it’s not too late to take back your life. Clean Recovery Centers is here with a compassionate staff and resources to lead you on the path to recovery. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our treatment options.
FAQs About the Identification of Heroin
How do you identify an unknown drug?
It is difficult to identify an unknown drug, but certain tests are available that will determine what substance it is.
What is the color test for heroin?
The most common color test for heroin is the Marquis test, which will turn heroin purple.
What are the markers for heroin?
A common marker for heroin is the way it is packaged.